Opportunities abound to see 'Extreme Makeover' house

The hottest tickets in East Central Illinois this week will allow holders through the front door of a house in Philo.

People who just can't wait until the 7 p.m. Sunday television show to see the interior of the "Extreme Makeover" home can bid for an in-person preview showing.

Meanwhile, viewing parties at hotels in Champaign and Bloomington are scheduled for $10 per person, with proceeds going to charity.

And a furniture store that helped with the project is having a free viewing party – but suggests that viewers bring food for charity.

For the preview Saturday night tour, WDWS-AM radio station – on Thursday morning – will auction five tickets. Each ticket is good for two people to tour the home before a national television audience sees it on Sunday. Listen between 7:30 and 9 a.m. Thursday for a chance to call in and bid.

Plan on spending about $500, if prices during last week's similar promotion on WBGL-FM, a Christian radio station, prevail.

The Prairie-style Philo house was built by the crew of ABC's "Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" program, Brady Homes of Bloomington and thousands of volunteers during one week in August.

The show selected Nathan Montgomery, his wife Jenny and four children for the new house because of his work as director of Salt & Light. It is a charity in Champaign that helps the poor with food, clothing and furniture necessities.

The ABC program also spruced up the offices and warehouse of the six-year-old charity.

Proceeds from the preview tour ticket sales will go to Salt & Light.

"The money is not earmarked for anything specific, but to keep doing what we're doing," Montgomery said.

"We need to keep up with the food program; that's the big need right now," he said. "We averaged 250 people (seeking food) before filming (the house construction), but since then we haven't seen less than 300 each time. It averages 325."

Salt & Light, at 1512 W. Anthony Drive, C, gives away food between 1 and 5 p.m. Wednesdays.

People curious about the house who miss out on the ticket auction, or simply cannot afford those prices, can buy $10 tickets for viewing parties in Champaign or Bloomington.

The audience at each party will get to see a one-hour pre-show that has ABC footage that did not make it into the national telecast plus the one-hour television show.

In Champaign, details of the party at the I-Hotel and Conference Center, 1802 S. First St., are:

– 6 to 8:30 p.m. Sunday.

– Includes meet and greet with the family.

– 1,400 tickets available for $10 each at Salt & Light; I Hotel; Exchange Bank, 102 W. Washington, Philo, and drive-up facility on Illinois 130; WDWS-AM radio station, 2301 S. Neil St., C; and WBGL-FM radio station, 2108 W. Springfield Ave., C.

In Bloomington, details of the party at the Double Tree Hotel & Conference Center, 10 Brickyard Drive, are:

– 5:30 p.m. Sunday.

– Advance $10 tickets sold at Remax Choice, 2203 Eastland Drive, Bloomington; children free. Proceeds for Clare House, a food pantry.

– Tickets cost $15 at the door Sunday.

The free viewing is at Ashley Furniture Home Store, 602 W. Anthony Drive, C. It is limited to 400 people with advance tickets necessary.

The tickets are available, a maximum of four, at the store starting at 10 a.m. Thursday.

The furniture store party starts at 5 p.m. Sunday. It includes pizza provided by Papa Murphy's, prizes, special appearances and discounts on furniture.

Party attendees are encouraged to bring canned food that will be given to Salt & Light.

The store donated furniture and accent pieces for the new house. Its viewing party is co-sponsored by WICD-TV and WIXY-FM radio station.

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